From April 7, 2014 to April 14, 2014, the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) hosted a group of Russian students and faculty from Moscow’s Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies (ISKRAN). This was ISKRAN’s eleventh annual visit to CISSM. The visit was part of the joint Collaborative Education and Security Project, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, to develop and foster the next generation of Russian and U.S. leaders in security policy and foreign affairs. CISSM and ISKRAN launched the Collaborative Education and Security Project in 2004, with the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Over the past ten years, nearly 90 students have participated in the project and have been given the opportunity to travel to the United States to exchange ideas and establish connections with American students and experts in their field of study.
This year, the ISKRAN visit was particularly timely, considering the ongoing challenges to U.S.-Russian relations arising from the political crisis in Ukraine. During their visit, ISKRAN students received hands-on policy making experience working with Maryland School of Public Policy (MSPP) students on joint policy memoranda on Iran and Syria, met with experts and policy-makers from leading think tanks and institutions in Washington, D.C., and participated in seminars with MSPP faculty.
The productive discussions between ISKRAN and MSPP students reinforced the need for U.S.-Russian dialogue to overcome political crises and to find cooperative solutions to international security problems. The Russian and American students who participated in the week’s events understood this better than anyone, repeatedly emphasizing the need for fresh viewpoints and the role of the next generation of leaders in resolving the conflicts of the new century.